Bending or kneeling down and tusking the ground and, often, uplifting clods of soil and vegetation. When elephants engage in Mud-Wallowing they often Tusk-Ground. This is particularly true of Mud-Wallowing musth males who will engage in an exaggerated form of Tusk-Ground along with other components of a musth male display. In an Aggressive context Tusk-Ground is seen in the manoeuvring between two males during an Escalated-Contest, apparently as a demonstration of ‘look what I will do with you’.

In an Attacking & Mobbing context an elephant may Kneel-Down and Tusk a person or other animal into the ground to kill or maim it. During Social Play elephants engage in a gentle form of both Kneel-Down and Tusk-Ground, behaviors that encourage other elephants to Climb-Upon.

References: Kühme 1961; Poole 1982: 51, 57; Moss 1988; Poole 1987a; Poole 1987c; Poole 1996: 159; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2004; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Aggressive, Foraging & Comfort Technique, Social Play


Context: Foraging & Comfort Technique (1)

A medium sized adult male is in a mud-wallow depression. His tusks are covered in mud as he has been engaging in Tusk-Ground. After a while he plunges his tusks into the ground again. A larger male arrives and displaces him. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Foraging & Comfort Technique (2)

A medium sized adult male enters a mud-wallow depression and engages in Tusk-Ground. He Tusks-ground for more than 2 minutes. He comes out and gives a Head-Toss. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Foraging & Comfort Technique (3)

Elephants are Mud-Wallowing and a two year old calf Tusks-Ground. (Amboseli, Kenya)